Early in Jonathan Dee's fifth novel, The Privileges, wealthy stay-at-home mom Cynthia Morey plays poker with her two young children, equipping them with sunglasses and bandanas to shield their faces from giving away their hands. When she notices one of her Manhattan neighbors—apparently confused
Mark Gluth's The Late Work of Margaret Kroftis is a short novel with a fractured narrative structure, but it is also a complete and awe-inspiring text, offering an acute and moving portrayal of grief's powers. Opening with a disquieting scene about the reclusive writer of the title, as she is working
What is art education and what should it do? The essays that Steven Henry Madoff has assembled in Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century) explore this often-controversial question and attempt to determine how to educate people to become professional artists. Madoff is the Senior Critic at Yale
As Ernesto Cardenal asserts in Incantations, poetry has a wider latitude for power in a culture where it is understood to be "the first speech." It proposes joyfully that what's read this afternoon at the Bowery Poetry Club shares a magical link to this book's poems by illiterate women in Chiapas.
Robert Walser's prose exudes fluorescence, if words on the page can be described as color. His protagonists have such brightly sharpened tastes and manners, and such blindingly astute observational skills that to read their ways of seeing is as enlightening, and at times as painful, as staring into
When the shortlist for this year's National Book Award in poetry was announced, the odds-on favorite, Frederick Seidel's Poems: 1959-2009, was nowhere to be found. Bill Knott raised the alarm on his blog, "Critically acclaimed as the book of the year, and…it's not even on the NBA shortlist—what's
Earlier this decade, prompted by a lawsuit his father was facing, photographer Mitch Epstein returned to his western Massachusetts hometown. Holyoke had become an unfamiliar landscape in the years since he had left as a young man, so he decided to document the changed circumstances of his parents'
Jason Quinn Malott's debut, The Evolution of Shadows, is a devastating, often dizzying novel of returns and turnarounds. Years after war photographer Gray Banick vanishes in Bosnia, his American, English, and Bosnian friends convene in Sarajevo to solve the mystery of his disappearance, a venture
Music has been made by means of technology for nearly as long, if not exactly as long, as music has been made. Except for the voice (as well as the effects of clapping, slapping, and snapping), the sounds we agree to designate as musical rely on the use of tools, whether those tools be sticks,
Did Patricia Highsmith and Susan Sontag ever meet? According to Joan Schenkar's lively biography of the suspense writer, it seems the closest encounter the two ever had was in 1976, during Highsmith's second visit to Berlin, where she heard Allen Ginsberg read his poetry and Sontag present a thirty-page